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November 2017

December 2017

Toothpick 🌟Star 💦Trick Science Experiment For Kids (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)

How about adding some✨magic to this Holiday Season? Your kiddo will absolutely love this fun 🎄Christmas Inspired Science ⚗️Experiment! A magic toothpick trick on how to turn a broken toothpicks snowflake into a star! Observe the toothpicks mysteriously glide right in front your eyes!

DSC_0011What you will need:

  • five wooden toothpicks,
  • smooth surface,
  • a dropper or a drinking straw,
  • water.

DSC_0011Bend each toothpick in the middle carefully not to break it completely.

DSC_0011  Place all five semi-broken toothpicks in a circle with broken points meeting at the center. 

DSC_0032Using a dropper, carefully put few drops of water in the middle.

DSC_0011Observe how toothpicks mysteriously glide into place to form a star!

Please note, that the second part of "opening" of the star has been sped up 8x times. So please be patient and do not be discouraged if your star does not expand as fast.

Science mystery is 💡 revealed: toothpicks are composed of dry wood. When we bend and crack the toothpicks in the middle, the wood fragments inside compress. Once we add water to the center circle of the star, capillary action causes the water to be absorbed into the toothpicks.  As the water moves inside the dry toothpick from the starting point of the crack along the length to its pointed tips, the wood fibers that are bent expand and open up. The capillary action or water traveling inside the toothpick causes toothpicks to glide as they straighten forming a star.

DSC_0032  As dry wood absorbs water and toothpicks straighten out, they push against one another opening up the inside of the star.


Tips for success (we had several trial and errors until we figured it out:

  • Snap a little - do NOT break! How you break the toothpick matters: bend and apply the least pressure and be very careful not to break apart: the more wooden fibers are still connected, the better chances you will have that the "star" will open. If too many fibers are broken, the experiment will not work.  
  • Surface matters! We tried this experiment on a plate and it did not work. We are using this tray. 
  • The right amount of water! Too little would not be enough for the capillary action to take place, and too much water would just cause the toothpicks to float instead of gliding.


But how does wood absorb water? Wood absorbs water by capillary action, adhesion, and cohesion.These are the same factors that allow plants to carry water from roots upwards through vein-like tubes to the leaves. For more on Capillary Action, see here "💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water). "

💦Water science is one of my children's favorite activities! They can never seem to get enough of these experiments! See here "Walnut Shell ⛵Sailboats 💦Water Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)" and here a video post "🎶Musical 💦Water 🌈Glasses (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)" and here "Pour 💦it in! Liquid Illusion" (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇). 

Montessori 💗 Pink Series  "i" sound (Language 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum)

The process of learning how to read can be as simple and joyful as the process of learning how to walk. In Montessori Language curriculum, the hands-on phonetic approach helps children form a clear understanding of how written words encode the spoken sounds into the symbolic letters of the alphabet. By using this technique, young children master sounds made by each letter, as well as letters represented by each sound. 

In a Montessori “Pink-Blue-Green" Series approach, the child progresses very gradually as s/he is first introduced to three CVC letter words in 💗PINK Series, then blends (st, bl, pr...) in💙 BLUE Series, and finally digraphs (sh, th, ch, oi...) in 💚 GREEN Series.  

DSC_0125Today, we are working with"i" sound from 💗Pink Series.

In a Montessori literacy curriculum, Pink 💗Series is the first step in teaching a child how to  📖 read. After a child is familiar with sandpaper letters and knows about 15 letters of the alphabet, s/he can start working with Movable Alphabet while slowly incorporating the Pink Series boxes. Pink Series 3-letter phonetic words have the same pattern: CVC = Consonant -Vowel -Consonant. All of the vowels at this stage are short vowels: "a" as in 🐱cat, "e" as in 🖊pen, "i" as in 🐷pig, "o" as in 📦 box, and "u" as in 🌞sun. All the words in 💗Pink Series are phonetically decodable, that is all of the letters used in the series retain their phonetic sound that the child recognizes and is used to it. Pink Series boxes are arranged by sounds. In a video below, Adrian is working with [i] sound.

To compose the word, we are using Movable Alphabet (buy here), but you can use any letters on hand or simply write letters on a piece of paper. With younger children, also place a picture or an object representing that picture next to the word so that the child has visual assistance. At this age with Adrian, I generally just place the words in front of him, and only once he successfully blends the sounds, Julia or I would place an object representing that word next to it. 

 Viv Yapp (check it out here) was kind enough to make a little 📽video of 👦🏼Adrian 📖 reading the CVC word "bin" (see here or here).  


For more on 💗Pink Series CVC blending, see here Montessori 💗 Pink Series  "e" sound post which has a video of Adrian blending sounds and reading the words first, and only then being shown corresponding objects.

For an introduction to Literacy in Montessori Language curriculum, and our "Letter hunts" read our Letter Series post here, where you will also find other letters we have been exploring.

Enjoy your adventure on the road to literacy!

Emotions (Body) • Feelings (Mind) ✂️DIY 😃😮😡😢☹️😆Puppets ♻️🚽Craft 🎥 101

Please meet our EMOTIONS/FEELINGS puppet friends! 

Many people use the words “emotions” and “feelings” interchangeably. However, although highly related, the meaning of emotions and feelings is distinct.  An emotion is a conspicuous physical bodily response to a common change, while a feeling is a mental reaction to an emotion that is personal and gained through experience. Interestingly, emotions actually proceed feelings.   

IMG_9207 To apply our theoretical knowledge, we are making EMOTIONS puppets. 

DSC_0363What you will need:

  • recycled toilet paper rolls,
  • pipe cleaners,
  • hole puncher,
  • googly eyes, 
  • Pom Poms,
  • Sharpies pens,
  • and a glue gun. 

In this video, Adrian is making a 😢 sad crying puppet. 

DSC_0389 Meet Mr. 😢 Sad.

While I helped with drawing facial expressions (children drew a rough draft for me on the side), they were in complete control as to how to decorate their puppets.    DSC_0392

This craft can promote gross motor skills when the child has to press the hole puncher to make a hole in the paper roll. Also, it promotes fine motor control when the child has to insert pipe cleaners into the punched out holes. 


EMOTION puppets can be a great tool to help teach a child to identify and talk about feelings. Through role-play and pretend puppet shows, you can help a child gain confidence about how to express feelings and respond to them in an appropriate and healthy way.


Since emotions are physical, they can be noticed by facial expressions, blood flow, and a body stance. Feelings, on the other hand, are mental and as such, they cannot be measured precisely since they reflect one's personal associations to emotions. So, this was a great exercise to discuss how eyebrows and/or shape of the mouth can give us clues as to the puppet's emotional state.

DSC_0382While emotions are usually fleeting, the feelings they evoke may last for a long time. And because emotions can initiate feelings, and feelings in turn initiate emotions, it is important to teach children to understand how they feel to prevent a cycle of at times painful and confusing emotions. 

Here, Adrian is making an 😡 Angry Guy, associating the color red with a strong emotional state. 

DSC_0389Meet Mr. 😡 Angry. 

DSC_0389Meet our 😃 Happy Puppet. 

DSC_0389Meet our 😮 Surprised Puppet. 

DSC_0389Meet Mr. ☹️Sad. 

DSC_0389Meet the 😆Laughing Puppet. 

DSC_0383Meet our EMOTIONS Puppet Friends! 

You may also prompt your child to play out puppet faces in order to help him/her connect the emotions with physical sensations. This way, the child can see that emotions affect what he/she does, and that there is a choice about how to respond to a particular feeling. Julia, for example, if she is upset or unsettled, needs to have a "TTYL" with me (Talk To You Later), meaning that she wants my undivided attention for a minute or two to express how she feels and what troubles her. This seems to always work in making her feel better and centered. Adrian, on the other hand, is not very emotional at his age, so no elaborate routine is required: a hug and a sorry always do the job.


I hope that you will find our EMOTIONS Puppets craft useful in teaching your child that there are many different feelings, and that it is totally normal to feel them all. Feelings may be comfortable or uncomfortable, and feeling emotions, whatever they are, is a natural phenomenon. Young children deal with many of the same emotions adults do. Children get frustrated, sad, angry, nervous, happy, or shy or embarrassed, but they often do not have the words to describe how they are feeling. I hope that with the help of this puppets craft, you can enhance your child's socio-emotional development by helping him/her understand feelings and express emotions in a healthy balanced way.  

DSC_0070I also made this EMOTIONS puzzle where a child has to match two parts of the face. Make sure you color-code on the back of each piece by placing same-color stickers on halves that make the whole. (For example, the 😡angry face will have two 🔴🔴red stickers on the back of each half; this way the child can self-correct.)

DSC_0070Once the child matches the puzzle-pieces, as a control of error, he/she can turn the faces and see if the assembly was correct.

The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation has a great article here about different ideas on how to teach children about emotions.

Also, Emotions and Mindfulness go hand in hand, so read here a post "🕉Mindfulness with Children (☮️PEACE Education)" and here "Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace &Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)."  

No-Cook Homemade Play Dough 🎄Christmas Tree DIY Craft

We all had so much fun making our no-cook homemade play dough. 

DSC_0066 didnot

What you will need (double up if you would like to make more):

  • 1 cup of white all-purpose flour,
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil,
  • 1/4 cup of salt,
  • 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar,
  • 3/4 cups of boiling water (adding in increments),
  • food coloring (we are using this neon food coloring set),
  • 1 tsp of glycerine for shine,
  • we also added Lavender essential oil to add some olfactory dimension to our play dough (do omit it if you have smaller children who might otherwise put play dough in the mouth, since other than this ingredient, the playdough is safe if ingested).

DSC_0070An invitation to create: Can you make a Christmas Tree?

DSC_0071There are so many ways you can use a cookie cutter!

DSC_0075 copy  We are using a wooden dough roller from this set.

DSC_0075 copyOffer a child to roll the dough and cut out a shape with a cookie cutter. 

DSC_0075 copyInvite your child to make tiny balls to decorate the Tree.

DSC_0075This is a fun way to promote fine motor control while exploring creativity.  

DSC_0066 didnotSee how we made our No-Cook Homemade 🌈 Play Dough here.

For more on Christmas activities, see here "🎄Christmas Odd & Even Math lesson (Numerals and Counters)." And here "🎄Christmas Tree from Montessori Number Rods and Knobless Cylinders." 

For Christmas sensorial activities, see here "🎅🏻Christmas Inspired • Fill The Ornament 🎄Sensory Bin" and  here "🎅🏻Christmas Inspired ⛄️Shredded Paper 🙌🏻Sensory Bin with 🔢Math Twist."





No-Cook Homemade 🌈 Play Dough

Finally, we made no-cook homemade play dough inspired by so many talented Mamas. This particular recipe is by Imagination Tree House (see here). I will keep you up with updates as to how well the dough stores. 


What you will need (double up if you would like to make more):

  • 1 cup of white all-purpose flour,
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil,
  • 1/4 cup of salt,
  • 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar,
  • 3/4 cups of boiling water (adding in increments),
  • food coloring (we are using this neon food coloring set),
  • 1 tsp of glycerine for shine,
  • we also added Lavender essential oil to add some olfactory dimension to our play dough (do omit it if you have smaller children who might otherwise put play dough in the mouth, since other than this ingredient, the playdough is safe if ingested).

DSC_0056-3How to make your play dough:

  • mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl,
  • stir in water continuously until it becomes a sticky combined mixture,
  • add the glycerine to give your dough a nice shine,
  • add essential oil (optional),
  • allow the dough to cool down and then knead it for few minutes until all of the stickiness has gone (add more flour if it is too sticky).

DSC_0067The key is to keep kneading continuously until the dough does not feel sticky anymore!
DSC_0067We first made 12 plain balls and then added a different color to each.
DSC_0067An hour later...

See here our playdough in action in a post "No-Cook Homemade Play Dough 🎄Christmas Tree DIY Craft."

For more on color mixing, see  here a video-post "👔 Father's Day🎈Balloon Color-mixing DIY Craft (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."  And, see here a 🎥 video post "Paper Towel, Markers and 💦Water 🌈 Color Mixing ⚗️Experiment."